Jesus commands men to love even their enemies so they might strive to be perfect like the Heavenly Father. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Charity so he can always strive to love his enemies and by growing in the Virtue of Religion so he can set his sights on the perfection of Sainthood.

Liturgy

11th Week in Ordinary Time – Tuesday – Mt 5:43-48

Commentary

After commanding that men are to be merciful (turn the other cheek, go the extra mile) when faced with evil and injustice in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls His disciples to a revolutionary kind of love that extends to not only Israel’s “neighbors” (other Jews) but to enemies, including all Gentiles and those who act unjustly. Jesus’ astounding call to love one’s enemies was completely countercultural in the ancient Middle East and remains countercultural in a modern world plagued by divisive ideologies sow hatred and violence. 

Rather than the Old Covenant law that directed men to love their neighbor and hate their enemies, Jesus commands His disciples to love everyone. His edict of love has no exceptions, even for Gentiles and the universally hated tax collectors. Rather than only passively refusing to not respond when attacked, Jesus radically commands His men to actively pray for those who persecute them.  

Jesus offers a compelling rationale for why men should take up His call to revolutionary love: the Father loves all men (sending sun and rain to all) and so those who aspire to be sons of the Father must love like the Father does; disciples are called to heroic virtue, to be more holy than others who only love their own kind (Gentiles, tax collectors) by loving even a man’s enemies; rather than a compromising and slothful mediocrity when it comes to love, Jesus calls His men to strive to be perfect like the Heavenly Father, who is Divine Perfection. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be challenged by Jesus’ call to the perfection of love: with Authority as the Divine King, Jesus commands His followers to a radically new standard of unconditional love that overturns thousand-year-old rules given by the great Prophet Moses and also overturns most men’s standards for “justice” today; in place of suspicion, division and hateful acts, Jesus, the perfection of Peace and Joy, commands His men to go beyond passiveness to true Fraternity (a part of Justice) and to be Cheerful and seek Peace with all people.

Seek Charity to love enemies

Realize: Jesus specifically calls every Catholic man to love his enemies; to be a disciple of Jesus, every Catholic man must love every single person, not simply those who love a man back or those who are easy to love, but especially those who are the most difficult to love because they act in sinful and unjust ways. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Catechism’s teaching on the Love of Enemies (CCC 1825, 1933, 1968, 2262, 2303, 2647, 2844).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Charity, help me build the Virtue of Charity so I love You above all and experience Your love, I am filled with an overflowing love for every single soul You have purposefully created, and I strive to truly love those who embrace evil, attack me, and oppose and persecute You and Your Holy Catholic Church.

Set your sights on the perfection of Sainthood

Realize: Few Catholic men whole-heartedly pursue moral perfection and most fail to keep even the low minimum standards of the Precepts of the Church (CCC 2041-2043); every Catholic man who aspires to Heaven must set his sights, not on the minimum expectations, but on Jesus’ call to perfection, a call to become a saint.

Believe: Reflect upon the Call to Perfection (CCC 1693, 2013).

Pray: Jesus, Divine Priest, help me build the Virtue of Religion (a part of Justice) so I receive deep happiness and strength by practicing Catholicism and I zealously work to grow in holiness each day and set my sights on the perfection of sainthood.